It was a game of ‘Mummy and Daddy’ gone too far. He had yelled at her, just like Daddy yelled at Mummy, so she carried her baby sister and attempted to breastfeed her like Mummy. It tickled a little, but she liked it. “Baby suck now”, said ten-year-old Maria; and that was when Mummy caught them. “What are you doing to my Child! What are you doing!! Don’t you know this is CHILD ABUSE!!!” Maria was horrified. She didn’t want to hurt anyone. They were just playing, but Mummy called her a child abuser…
Mummy grabbed the baby from Maria and walked away. She was in shock at what her eyes had seen. Where was this coming from? They claimed to have been playing, but it didn’t look like a game to her. Apparently, she had just missed the yelling scene. Is this really what her children thought of her marriage? And what could she say to little Maria… or her husband when he gets home…?
If you are like me, then the word ‘Abuse’ does not connote anything nice in your mind, and you’ve probably found the last couple of articles a bit uncomfortable to read, talk less of share. Some of the scenarios described seem so far away from our reality that you may have questioned their authenticity; but we don’t write fiction here at Dishusbandmata. Every story you read on this site is someone’s reality, whether good or terrible. Most things start out as harmless fun, but somewhere along the line, it stops being fun for someone.
How many of us played Mummy and Daddy games as children? Think back to what you acted out. Was it a scene where Daddy was reading the papers and Mummy was bringing his food, or were they both yelling “Musa! Come here now!”. Most times, there are characteristics and traits imbedded in our subconscious that may not come to light until we find ourselves in a marriage or relationship situation. We think it’s fine, it’s been dealt with, I’ve moved beyond that phase of my life; but then comes a period of testing, and we fail in ways we never imagined.
As a child, I never saw my parents arguing, mainly because my Mum would never respond to Dad’s retorts or loud complaints in our presence. As I grew older, I started to resent this in my Mum, wondering why she couldn’t stick up for herself. That was many years ago. Sometime last year, I was telling a friend about some issues in my marriage and she said “That is financial abuse. Your husband should not be doing that.” I was very insulted by her comment, because I interpreted it to mean that I was a victim – and I AM NOT A VICTIM. I am not the sort of woman who would let anybody walk over me. Period. I ended that conversation shortly after that, but I spent a while thinking about her words.
Now just to be clear, there is a difference between marital issues and abuse in marriage. Yes, they may have some overlapping areas but they are also very different. My husband and I were having some serious communication issues and this was producing other secondary issues, including money matters. Imagine if I walked up to my husband and said “Do you know you have been abusing me, by not allocating enough money for the monthly shopping?” Please brothers reading, what would your response be if your wife said this? What I did however, was think very deeply on the matter. I recalled my mother’s quietness and realised I had also been quiet on certain occasions when speaking up was necessary. I had to question myself and check how I had contributed to the situation (since I am not perfect, I can’t put all the blame on him). To be honest, for a few weeks after my chat with my friend, I kept asking myself “Am I really being abused? Am I denying my situation? Is my husband that wicked? Have I become a victim? What am I supposed to do about all this now?”.
I am a Christian, so prayer was my next step; then I sought godly counsel from my mentors and made a personal decision to get some courage and stop hiding behind being submissive. Even though the stories we have heard may seem extreme, every victim or perpetrator was once an innocent child. A child who hungrily took in the world around them – whatever that was. No one went to school to gain a qualification on being abusive, but there are many lessons we learn outside the classroom.
So, what is your current situation? Maybe you have an issue that is in the go-between of Marital conflict and Abuse, or you are about to commit your life to a woman or man who has shown signs of unresolved childhood issues, here’s your wake-up call. A minister speaking on Family Enrichment said “we need to stop rescuing people from the river, and deal with why they are falling into the river in the first place!”. For something to be termed abuse, it tends to be a repeated occurrence. We will really help each other if we take a closer look at ourselves, and the rights we insist on. Have you done something this year, that a younger you would have sworn never to do? It really could be you who ends up as victim or perpetrator. It could be someone closer than you think.
I am not asking you to live a suspicious life from now on, but certainly look to nip ugly issues in the bud. Let’s have fewer horror stories to tell. Let’s be bold men and women. Let’s secure our family units, whatever they may be. Let our children know that although we live in a broken world, our homes can be different if we work together in harmony.
My two cents